As a writer, a type of artist if you will, I constantly have to revisit the theories of Quality vs. Quantity in regards to productivity. Anyone who practice anything will probably cross this path more often than they would like — I know I do.
For me, I have to decide whether or not I’m satisfied with the quality of what I have written before labeling it as completed. Quantity has never been a concern of my personal writings. I never consider word count; but I need for every word I write to count. I have only cared about quality. However, now that I blog, I try to stay consistent in posting. This keeps me on my toes about scheduling times to produce since I already know that I will not post anything thrown together. If I expect anyone to read and enjoy anything that I have written, I should at least see to it that I give them a level of coherency that makes the ready relatable and enjoyable. That’s what quality is for me in my art. It is very time consuming, but it’s worth my satisfaction in having just one appreciative reader.
I appreciate other peoples’ arts and the time that they put into what they do. More than anything else, I always look for the prep work. The prep work is what shows how serious a person is about their craft. Take a painter for example, at the end of the day all we see is the finished piece, and we may envision them painting it as we ask, “So what inspired you for this piece?” But consider the newspaper they collect to spread over the floors. Think about the fact that the room may have to be a certain temperature for the paints that they used. Think about all of what goes into an art before it is actually completed. That’s where the quality happens. You could just throw the turkey into an oven and let it cook; but consider the chef that prepares a brine for the turkey to soak in for sixteen hours BEFORE the cooking even starts. That’s where the quality happens. Think about the barber who cuts you a really nice hair cut; but then consider the barber who washes and conditions your hair first for more precise styling. That’s where the quality happens. Preparation is what I always look for in a completed work of any standard; that might have started when I started cooking though, to be honest.
The fact of the matter is that if I wrote one hundred books a year, and ninety of them were trash, the chances of the ten good ones making the best sellers list is still going to be pretty slim. However, if I produced twelve quality books a years, the chances of one of those twelve making it on the list would be pretty slim. The key is producing quality in large quantities. By the time your work has been filtered through to find only the good stuff that you have produced, those works may be considered lucky because of the low percentage. That’s why I refuse to label anything as complete if I am not satisfied with it. In the meantime I will focus on speeding up my methodology without sacrificing and quality.
So for this argument, I have to choose quality. I believe quantity without quality is simply a waste of time; shooting in the dark. I believe that discovered quality in a mound of quantity is luck; and I refuse to place my success in luck.